Little Ships

The Illawarra and South Coast Steam Navigation Company (ISNC) was established in 1858 as an amalgamation of three smaller shipping companies which transported goods between Sydney and the south coast of NSW. The fleet were well-known for carrying live pigs and so were often referred to as the ‘Pig and Whistle Boats.’ Townspeople and passengers […]

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Ghost Letters

Close up of black writing slate with a damaged wooden frame, including a small string fed through the top

Occasionally, objects that are handed down to us from previous generations keep their life stories secret, hiding who made or used them. But, a few feint scratchings and ghost letters can reveal a few clues. The combination of permanent writing lines incised into the slate and the remnants of letters written in chalk confirm that […]

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Roll, Crush, Whack

Close up of pale wooden rolling pin with long thin handles

In a kitchen on the NSW South Coast, probably in the early twentieth century, a woman used this rolling pin almost daily for making her family’s meals. Before pastry, scones, and biscuits could be bought ready-made in supermarkets, the kneading and flattening of dough with a rolling pin was an everyday ritual in most kitchens. […]

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Anonymous Australiana

Four wooden napkin rings with gumnuts and black bands burned into them

In the early twentieth century, an amateur Australian artist picked up a nail, knitting needle, or knife, heated it in the fireplace and burnt the designs of Eucalyptus leaves and nuts into these wooden napkin rings. At the time, creative Australians loved the art of pokerwork, also known as pyrography, and burned designs into any […]

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The House That Jack Found

Kangaroos may have grazed on the sandy dunes and seabirds soared overhead on the day in 1967 when Jack Thompson (1908-1996) explored the Murramarang Point headland, between Ulladulla and Batemans Bay. While strolling, he came across the remains of roughly-made slab huts – the timber parts having long disappeared. Curious, Jack picked up these bricks […]

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Just Beat It

Close up of device which looks like a manual egg beater secured through the lid of a glass jar

Imagine the sound of thick, rich cream splashing and slopping against the insides of this glass jar, as one of its owners, Ella or Ada Mellshimer of Ulladulla, wound the handle to move the paddle inside. Nearly every kitchen in Australia had a butter churn in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and this […]

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Metal in the Mix

If you were a tea drinker in the 1920s, you probably would have begun making your morning brew by boiling water in a kettle just like this one. When you heard the water bubbling inside, you would pour it out into your teapot and wait for your Bushells tea leaves to steep. If you didn’t […]

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Standing on the Beach

With slightly sandy shoes, a professional photographer returned to his studio one day in 1959 and developed a roll of film. It was these two photographs that stood out among the images he had captured that day, which were suitable for the commission he had received from the Swansea-Caves Beach Surf Lifesaving Club. After printing […]

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Past Ties

This carefully worked child’s apron was made by the small adept hands of Ada Maud Mellshimer (1888-1970). Ada, who preferred to be called Maud, was the youngest of two girls born to Mary (née Crisp) and George Mellishmer from Ulladulla, on the NSW South Coast. Maude worked the apron when a student at Ulladulla Public […]

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